Worried by the sinister political implications of his current murder case. Scotland Yard?s Adam Dalgliesh is off to a teaching hospital for nurses to interview a prime suspect, critically ill arms dealer Martin Dettinger.T... more »he hospital, he discovers is a hotbed of blackmail teeming with mysterious motives. At the somber adjoining training wing and nurses? residence, the risk of death seems greater than in any ward. Two young nurses are suddenly poisoned to death ? one of them right before Dalgliesh?s eyes.Not originally assigned to these cases and against orders from superiors, Dalgliesh takes them on. With trademark cool, the shrewd, incisive detective is soon navigating a labyrinth of intrigues, jealousies and some very dark secrets. Someone is trying to bury the past and is ready, willing and able to kill again to keep it from being resurrected.« less
"Finally, the wonderful BBC dramatizations of the P.D. James mysteries broadcast on PBS Mystery Theater are being issued in a DVD format. SHROUD FOR A NIGHTINGALE is one of the best. The setting for this mystery is a school in England located in an old 19th Century Victorian building situated on a large estate (thus the time-honored device of murder in the "country house" is preserved wherein all the suspects and victims are in residence). Florence Nightingale founded nursing in the U.K. during the Crimean War and for a long time afterward, those who became nurses were called "nightingales" after their famous role model. (Clara Barton was her equivalent in the U.S. during the Civil War.) In this mystery, the nightingales are student nurses and their instructors living in residence at a school of nursing. One morning, a student nurse is ingeniously done in before a dozen witnesses none of whom can identify the killer. Adam Dalgliesh, Scotland Yard's poetic police chief superintendent is soon on the scene. He finds plenty of suspects but before he can solve the first crime a beautiful red-headed instructor is found dead in her bed--of unnatural causes. She had been having an affair with someone as she was pregnant -- did her lover try to cover his tracks? Or maybe one of the other nurses was jealous of the beautiful young woman and killed her. When a third mysterious death takes place, hysteria reigns supreme. Dalgliesh stalks the killer and in the end nails his nemesis, but not before a very desperate person with a wicked, wicked past produces mayhem and a few murders."
P.D James can rock your boat
X. Wang | New York, NY USA | 08/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the novel by award-winning author P.D James, this DVD, which is part of the Adam Dalgliesh series, can sure rock your boat. It might not have too much action, it might not have too many CSI shots(nothing against CSI), but it has fascinating dialogues, a lot of hospital intrigues, and quite a bit of suspense. If suspense novel is your thing, you will love this DVD. The humor is more subtle than the Poirot Series. Highly recommended."
Marsden Nails Dalgleish
K. Boullosa | 06/24/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First, let me state upfront that I'm not a huge fan of PD James's mysteries, with or without Adam Dalgliesh, her fabled poetry-writing Scotland Yard detective. The PBS series done on her Dalgliesh mysteries, however, represents one of those infrequent instances in which the screen adaptations were a far more enjoyable experience than the original material. British actor Roy Marsden gets most of the credit for this, with his quietly vivid portrayal of the severely emotionally controlled Chief Superintendent Dalgliesh. Marsden overcomes the problem that Dalgliesh has always presented for me in James's novels: he's so enigmatic that he never quite comes to life. Marsden's strong physical presence, beautiful voice (just close your eyes and listen once in awhile), and subtle but clear characterization finally breathes real life into this unique detective. It was this series that gave Marsden a higher profile here in the States, although his edgy Neil Burnside in "The Sandbaggers" had already created a cult following. The strength of Marsden's work as Dalgliesh can best be appreciated by watching the one failed attempt PBS made to resurrect Dalgliesh with another actor ("The Murder Room") after Marsden exited the series. That is not to insult the later actor, it is just to point out how completely Marsden made Dalgliesh his own.
"Shroud for a Nigthingale" is one of the earlier PD James adaptations for PBS's "Mystery!", along with "Death of an Expert Witness", and despite these two showing video rather than film production values, both are particular favorites. "Shroud for a Nightingale" is set mostly in Nightingale House, a nurse's training school attached to a large private hospital. The story presents not only the cool, brainy Dalgliesh but a variety of other colorful characters, all fully realized by an excellent cast. (Penny Downie, who plays one of the student nurses here, turns up in two later James/Dalgliesh stories, once as Kate Mishkin, Dalgliesh's assistant after John Massingham exits in "A Taste for Death", and once as QC Venetia Aldridge in "A Certain Justice".)
Several narratives intertwine here: one involves a patient at the hospital with a suspicious international past who is under investigation by Dalgliesh; another involves the mysterious past of the self-possessed Matron, who heads up the hospital's nursing staff; others narratives involve relationships among students and senior nurses. The narratives collide early in the story, and, of course, a series of deaths result. Chief Inspector Dalgliesh and his assistant, D.I. John Massingham, set to work to unravel the connections among the narratives. Along the way we meet and get to know the characters of the student nurses, Matron (a strong performance by stage actress Sheila Allen), the senior nurses, and an egotistical surgeon (Joss Ackland), all nicely fleshed out. There is a subtle suggestion of lesbianism in two of the relationships, and the observant (especially if they listen carefully to voices) will also catch a younger John Thaw in a supporting role, long before he made his name in the U.S. as Inspector Morse.
"Shroud for a Nightingale" is one of the best of this series: tightly woven, clearly directed, with many interesting characters to watch - first among equals being Roy Marsden's piercing-eyed, deliciously aloof Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh."
E. Holmes | Seattle, WA USA | 03/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my favorite of all the ITV PD James adaptations. I rented this one while on vacation, and ended up glued to it into the wee hours. I actually woke up my spouse in the middle of the night at one point when I inadvertantly started protesting at the screen during the final climax. The story like I said is gripping. The supporting cast is fantastic! Marsden is perfect. Definitely check this one out.
If you like this one, definitely read the book. It's great also and Massingham gets up to some hilarious antics -- which they cut this out of the film."
First Class British Mystery!
drkhimxz | Freehold, NJ, USA | 02/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The editorial reviewer got it right. This younger Dalgliesh is tougher and more aggressive in his approach to his job than the older, wiser, more humane Inspector of the later shows. Writers, directors and actors share the credit for first rate television: complex people, good plotting and only the violence necessary to justify the label of mystery.It is recommended for all to whom this genre appeals."